Meeting Mother Teresa 1994
Honestly, I wasn’t so interested in going to India. I was quite happy to stay in the US to practice yoga, study, chant and meditate. Nonetheless, Sant Keshavadas, the guru who gave me the name Sahadev, very much encouraged everyone who attended his programs in the US to go with him on his annual pilgrimage tours to India, which emphasized visiting many holy sites and meeting many holy people. I decided to go, more to spend that many days in the company of Sant Keshavadas than anything else. I didn’t know where we would be visiting or who we would be meeting. It was to be three weeks of travel in nice busses staying at nice hotels (with running water and flush toilets!). About 45 people signed up. One of our destination cities on the trip was Calcutta, where we would visit the Dakshineswar Kali Temple where Ramakrishna Paramahamsa lived (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramakrishna). It was an amazing feeling to meditate for like 20 minutes in the actual room where he lived. It is preserved like a museum with his bed and other items that he personally used during his lifetime. The palpable feeling of peace in that room was striking, especially in contrast to the general experience of traveling in India. While at Calcutta, we were also scheduled to go to Mother Teresa’s place (Missionaries of Charity Mother House). It was made very clear to us that the tour organizers did not know whether Mother Teresa would actually be there when we visited. So, we pulled up in our tour bus like a bunch of spiritual western tourists (which we were!). They let us in, and it felt like a different world. There was a courtyard surrounded by the multi-story concrete building. We were led up a narrow stairway to the second floor and into a large and sparse room to wait and see what would happen next. The next thing we knew, Mother Teresa walked in. (pause to wipe my tear) She spoke to us for 10-15 minutes (not sure how long…time disappeared). The traffic was so noisy out the open windows that I couldn’t hear what she was exactly saying. There was no microphone, so we all just kind of crowded around her like children. There were no chairs. When she was finished speaking, she started handing out a card to each of us. As she handed one to me, she said “It’s my business card”. It is the size of a business card and has a prayer on it about love and service. Then she went out to the balcony walkway that overlooked the courtyard below. When I got out the door of the room, I saw that she was standing by the railing about 20 feet away and people in our group were individually meeting her. Wow. Could I meet her personally? How long would she stand there? So many people were crowding around her. I decided to move toward her without being rude to anyone. It was like the sea parted. I think many friends were shy to approach her. Not me. Suddenly, I was standing face to face with Mother Teresa. She was so short for someone so tall (5’0″). She held out her hands, and I took hold of them. Now my two hands were held by her two hands. I remember how they felt. Loving, but strong. Soft, but callused. She said “God bless you. Pray for us.” I said I would. That was it. Such a blessing! ✨✨✨
Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, all is well in my marathon at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. So many classes, and yet I never get bored with the subject (Vedanta). It’s so easy to say “All is One.” Yet, the mind is so full of diversity that the Oneness is obscured. How to address this? How to realize the Truth in my heart of hearts? This is the topic. This is the quest.
Sending Love from Pennsylvania,
QUOTES FROM MY NOTES
When you identify with the body and mind, you become susceptible to all sorts of unnecessary suffering. Realize that you are the abiding consciousness that is the witness of your body and mind.
Accept that the body and mind are limited. Don’t feel guilty due to these limitations. The real you is unlimited consciousness.
When we evoke devotion in ourselves in a conducive environment, we prepare ourselves to experience devotion in a non-conducive environment.
To change your habits of thinking and acting, deeply contemplate upon what you have learned. Otherwise, the deeply carved patterns in your mind take over when the teachings should be applied. Create new patterns by repeated and profound reflection and contemplation upon what you have learned.